Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: January 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Acquisition: received a free ARC at ALA Midwinter 2016

Synopsis:
Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how.

Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past.

Haunted by happy memories from her life, Breezy sets out to find answers in the gritty, threatening world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she discovers is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
(from Goodreads)
5 / 5 Stars

Good! So good! So very very good!

God, I loved this book.
It was strange, and weird and totally implausible but at the same time, totally realistic.

It's part mystery, part paranormal discovery.

Basically, it's a story about a girl. And the things that have happened, are happening and will happen to the girl.

Sounds boring right? Well, it's not!

This girl, isn't ordinary. And while her journey could fit into a number of plots, her unique circumstances make for hella good storytelling.

Nothing really fits into perfect boxes for Breezey. Her life, her death, her afterlife. It's all a jumble which is exactly how the real world works.

I love how there aren't any absolutes. There are questions and answers and mysteries to solve but all of the bits and pieces don't exactly fit together in the end.

At the end of Shallow Graves I kinda wanted a little more. More of Breezey's story and more of her world but at the same time, I liked that there were still loose ends.

Shallow Graves is a perfect match of fantastic storytelling and unanswered questions. Oh! And fantastic imagery - love it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (2): Where Are They Now


Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey guys.

Today in Top Ten land we're all talking about childhood characters we'd love to revisit as adults. Characters from our childhood we'd like to check up on now, or characters we've read about recently we'd want to see in ten year or so.

I thought a lot about this topic because often, for me, characters in books tend to stand still in time. They never break out of their stories.

However, I was able to come up with ten four characters whose futures I would love to know about.

Anne from Anne of Green Gables
Now, I know that in reading the complete Anne series, we get to see Anne grow up and even meet her children. What I was thinking though is...what is Anne's family like in present day? What are her great-great-great (?) grandchildren up to. What is Avonlea to the Blythe family now? Does her family tell stories about her? How many descendants does she have?

Harry Potter
Come on - who doesn't what to see what Harry Potter is up to as an adult? That little bit we get of him and his family at the end of The Deadly Hallows? Not nearly enough! Those tidbits Rowling throws out every now and then? Seriously lacking in detail! I want more! I would be happy with 10 more books in the series. 20 more! I don't think I would ever get tired of Harry.

Aislinn from the Wicked Lovely series
This is one of the few longerish series that I actually read all the way to the end - so I know how everything turned out for everyone. There were a lot of loose ends to tie up but everything did 'end'. But what about now? How is Aislinn doing? What is her life like now? How has she adjusted (or not adjusted) to everything?

Cas from The Abyss Surrounds Us
This is a 10 years from now one. Let's just say, I didn't really agree with a lot of Cas's decisions and I wasn't too thrilled with how her story played out and I know there is going to be another book in the series but still. What is Cas like in 10 or 20 years time? Does she still feel the same way about the things she did in her youth?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Book #1 of Shades of Magic
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication: February 2015 by Tor Books
Acquisition: bought

Synopsis:
Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.
(from Goodreads)
5 / 5 Stars

It's been a very long time since I've read a book that I've loved as much as I love this book.

It's good.

Seriously good.

Fabulously, tremendously good.

Schwab knows how to tell a story. I mean, I knew that already. But OMG was I blown away by A Darker Shade of Magic.

Every character, every setting, every little detail, every big detail - EVERYTHING was perfect.

I grew up with fantasy. Sweeping, epic fantasy stories passed down to me by my parents. ADSOM 100% reminds me of these stories I read and loved when I was younger.

Complete and full and timeless.

I sometimes have a hard time putting myself in a different worlds within the same story but that didn't happen here. Gray, Red, White, Black - it was all so easy to envision.

And man, did I wish I could visit Red London. It's got magic, and Kell and secrets and Kell and mystery and did I mention Kell lives there?

Since finishing ADSOM (oh, and a big thank you to whoever popularized this acronym - makes it so much easier to gush over talk about via Twitter and the like ;)

What was I saying? Oh yes - since finishing ADSOM I've been recommending it to just about everyone. Friends, family, strangers - no one is safe from my tremendous love for this book!!

So, have you read it yet? ;)

(btw - book 2? Also ridiculously fabulous!)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 2016 Wrap Up: The Mini Blarg Edition

March was very blarg - very very very blarg.

April was only a little blarg. Kinda like the annoying littler brother of March.

I felt horrible in March -- and only slightly horrible for a small part of April.

It just took so so long for me to get back on track - of everything! Blogging, reading, life!

Very happy to say that everything is just about normal here in my little chunk of crazy town.

And! Because I do still live in crazy town (I should stress, of my own choosing) I'm keeping it simple again this month with the visuals.

:)

THE REVIEWS

Read Bottom Up by Heel Shah and Skye Chatham | REVIEW 4/5 Stars
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke | REVIEW 2.5/5 Stars

APRIL 2016 READS
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Username: Evie by Joe Sugg
Harmony House by Nic Sheff
Winky Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Hope everyone had a great
March!
Happy Reading!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery Romance
Publication: March 2016 by Dial Books
Acquisition: bought

Synopsis:
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.
(from Goodreads)
2.5 / 5 Stars

Wink, Poppy and Midnight are people. These are their actual names. They are the protagonists, each telling their own part of the story.

Their names are Wink, Poppy and Midnight...and...ok...I went with it. I mean, unique names in YA aren't a new thing.

But then we get:

Leaf, Alabama, Briggs, Buttercup, Guillermo, Sung, Talley, Bee Lee, Hops and Moon.

These are also people and these are also their real names and OMG I can't focus on anything else! What is in the water in this town! Why!?

Distracting as all hell.

There was a mystery, sort of, and a romance or 2 or 3 - I lost count after Finn, Della and Tonisha gathered with Guillermo, Sung and The Yellows...or maybe that was before Midnight talked about Alabama and Talley and France (the country -- and oh my, the fact that I needed to say 'the country' so you knew it wasn't another character? yeah...)

Ug!

I so wanted to like this book. The setting is strange and the relationships are off the wall and the characters are insane! So, it should have been a total win.

But seriously...I just couldn't get past the names! There were more traditionally named folks in here too, don't get me wrong. But when a character is mentioned in literally 1 sentence, and they are just there to be there because the scene needs people and their name is Sung...it's going to be one of the only things that stick.

Seriously though? Names aside...I didn't love the story. The plot was all over the place and Wink was just so weird, and Poppy was just so bitchy and Midnight was just so awkward teenage boy...except they weren't. Everyone is put into these neat boxes - just so they could break out of them and that's where the deep, hidden meanings and reasons for everything come out and ok, maybe I'm just too shallow but it didn't resonate with me at all.

So, would I recommend Wink Poppy Midnight? Yeah, I think I would. Reviews are all over the map and some people really loved the weirdness and some really loved the romance and most people aren't as fixated on oh! oh! shinny thing! shinny thing! as I am and totally wouldn't be bothered by the name thing.

Wink Poppy Midnight is a very unique book and if you're looking for something a little different, I think you'll enjoy it. Just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean it won't work for you!